Digital event, November 19, 2020 – As the AFRICA CEO FORUM is organizing webinars dedicated to business leaders operating in Africa in partnership with Huawei, the last webinar features “delivering a broadband Africa”, with the participation of Mr. Hou Tao, Global Vice President of Huawei, and Mr. Lu Libo, President of Network Marketing & Solution Sales of Huawei.
The webinar featured a balanced presence of guests, coming from private and public spheres, and highlighted how digitalization can bring immense value to Africa, in terms of access to education, job opportunities, as well as medical care, especially in the context of COVID-19. As the World Bank estimates, up to $100bn is needed to bridge the connectivity gap in Africa by 2030. Moreover, amid the anti-pandemic “new normality", accelerating investment in digital technology and digital infrastructure has become the immediate priority for African economies to bounce back.
For Africa, a quick and smooth broadband deployment is the priority in the short term, while in the long term, we need to focus on building connectivity of high-quality experiences. Questions about the affordability and regulation of the telecom environment have been raised by Mr. Hamadoun Touré, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy of Mali, as the price of broadband plays a major role in terms of penetration, especially for landlocked countries. How the legal ecosystem rules the incoming of competitive operators and constructors was another issue addressed. Ms. Aurélie Adam Soulé, Minister of Digital Economy and Communications in Benin, added how the digitalization of the public administration and procedures can help giving clarity to companies and operators, creating the conditions for a great digital ecosystem in each African country. These issues were dealt with throughout the discussion by actors of the private sector, who discussed their solutions, such as building submarine fibre cables or providing internet connectivity to rural areas. This public-private webinar setting showed that, put together in a panafrican effort, technological advances could catalyze African industrial and social growth.
Mr. Lu Libo, President of Network Marketing & Solution Sales of Huawei, stressed that: “in the past years, we have seen many projects related with submarine cables, fiber metro networks and multinational fiber backbone networks, such as the CAB (Central African Backbone) project which links several west and mid Africa countries. Recently, we have also seen how the fiber networks are connecting families and enterprises in some Africa countries. On these big projects, we need the cooperation of the governments and the operators, together with all the participators in the industry”. All participants agreed that cooperation will be key to deliver a broadband Africa in the near future.
As a conclusion, Mr. Hou Tao, Global Vice President of Huawei, underlined that “60% of Africans are still not connected to the mobile or fixed Internet. Yet, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the broadband connections have never been more important. It is time to take rapid and radical actions to bring universal, affordable, and reliable broadband network to Africa”. Mr. Hou Tao added that, “being a long-term close partner, Huawei is committed to continuously providing products and services of high performance and reasonable price to each and every African citizen to bring upon an intelligent, connected world, in which Africa would show capability and resilience”.
Huawei is one of the world's leading suppliers of infrastructure and intelligent devices in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT). With integrated solutions in four key areas - telecommunications networks, IT, smart devices and cloud services - we are committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organisation for a fully connected and intelligent world. Huawei's portfolio of end-to-end products, solutions and services is both competitive and secure. Through open collaboration with partners in the digital ecosystem, we create sustainable value for our customers, working to empower individuals, enrich family life and inspire innovation in organisations of all sizes and shapes. At Huawei, innovation focuses on customer needs. We invest heavily in fundamental research, focusing on technological breakthroughs that move the world forward. We have more than 194,000 employees and are present in more than 170 countries and regions. Founded in 1987, Huawei is a privately held company wholly owned by its employees. For more information, visit Huawei online at www.huawei.com.
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